Summary of Study Session 6

In Study Session 6, you have learned that:

  1. Vaccines should be stored carefully between +2ºC and +8ºC at all times, from the factory where they are manufactured until they are used. Excess heat or cold will reduce the vaccine potency (strength), increasing the risk that recipients will not be protected against vaccine-preventable diseases.
  2. Health Posts should have a vaccine refrigerator and enough cold boxes and vaccine carriers to hold one month’s supply of vaccines and diluents, and one to two week’s reserve stock, to ensure that routine immunizations can continue if the refrigerator is temporarily out of working order.
  3. Cold chain equipment, including refrigerators, cold boxes and vaccine carriers, must be loaded correctly to maintain the temperature of the vaccines and diluents inside. Ice-packs should be conditioned (allowed to begin to melt) before use in cold boxes and vaccine carriers.
  4. Vaccines and diluents should be stored in the refrigerator compartment. If there is not enough space, diluents can be stored at room temperature, but they should be chilled to between +2ºC and +8ºC before use.
  5. Freeze-sensitive vaccines (pentavalent, PCV10, TT and HepB) should be kept away from the freezing compartment, refrigeration plates, side linings or bottom linings of refrigerators, and frozen ice-packs.
  6. A vaccine vial monitor (VVM) is a label that changes colour when the vaccine vial has been exposed to heat over a period of time. Before opening a vial, the status of the VVM must be checked to see whether the vaccine has been damaged by heat. Vials which have passed their discard point should be thrown away.
  7. VVMs do not measure exposure to freezing temperatures. Inspect the freeze-indicator and use the shake test to make sure that freeze-sensitive vaccines have not been frozen.
  8. A refrigerator works well only if it is properly installed, cleaned and defrosted (ice is removed) regularly.

6.6.2  Maintaining cold boxes and vaccine carriers

Self-Assessment Questions (SAQs) for Study Session 6